The Paranoid Partner: 20 Behavioral Traits of A Paranoid Personality in Relationships

Traits of Paranoid Partner

11. Strongly believes and constantly seeks evidence that others will eventually disappoint or take advantage of him.

12. Often has an unrelenting one-track mind about this or that issue which you also must see as an important issue.

13. Questions the loyalty and veracity of others, even loved ones, without basis or sees hidden meaning in the comments made by others.

14. Becomes suspicious and questions family members or loved ones when they interact with neighbors, postal or delivery personnel, or benign strangers.

Having a paranoid partner
Having a paranoid partner

15. Sees pending or looming threats that others don’t seem to see, understand, or comprehend, as he does and insists that you see things his way also.

16. Since entering into a relationship with this individual you see fewer and fewer of your old friends or family members.

17. You find yourself having to account for your time when you are away from home.

18. This individual takes offense when you make calls, engage in conversations, email, or talk to others and he is not a participant.

19. Denigrates you or others as “foolish,” “naïve,” “stupid,” or uses some other form of ad hominem attack because his knowledge and understanding are so perfect.

20. Since entering into a relationship with this individual you are less happy, less outgoing, less social, or less confident; or you find you are more worried, nervous, anxious, or preoccupied with how he reacts to you.

Related: 11 Signs of Negative People

It is normal to be suspicious every once in a while, but not always. You don’t need a degree in psychology to know that there are issues with an individual that shows 10 or more of these signs. At those levels, there is a high degree of anxiety on this person’s part as well as distrust coupled with rigid thinking that in turn makes them toxic to be around.

These individuals lack tenderness and for them, there is no humor in life—everything is serious. These pervasive traits in no way make for a good, happy, healthy, and vibrant relationship. What Sara found was that it led to suspiciousness, distrust, constant questioning, a regulated and insular lifestyle, with increasing anxiety that gradually and insidiously ate away at her happiness. I know of no one who can be happy in a relationship like that.

If you are in a relationship with someone like this, that person needs help and so will you—from a licensed mental health professional. Keep in mind, this person, in all likelihood, will reject any kind of assistance or interference in their life and they may question your intentions or loyalty severely or become angry, even violent.

Many individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress often have many of these behavioral traits and they need help in spite of their reluctance to seek it. Getting help should be paramount.

While the list above is not a diagnostic tool, and should not be used that way, it can help you to be more attentive, to sharpen your focus, or validate some of the behaviors you may be witnessing or experiencing. It is always wise to check with a mental health professional in these cases, and recognizing these chronic behaviors is a start.

People who have character flaws need to be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness and nothing here should take away from that. Having said that, always remember, as I often say, no matter what relationship you are in, you have no social obligation to be victimized, ever.

*From Chapter 4 in Dangerous Personalities (Rodale).


Navarro, Joe. 2014. “Dangerous Personalities.” Rodale, New York: NY.

Yudofsky, Stuart C. 2005. “Fatal Flaws: Navigating destructive relationships with people with disorders of personality and character.” America Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. Arlington, VA.

Written By Joe Navarro
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
Copyrights Owned By Joe Navarro

Having a paranoid partner is way more challenging than what people tend to believe, and sometimes, dangerous even. When you have a paranoid partner, you will constantly feel on the edge, and nervous about things going south. Is that really a way to love someone and be in a relationship? No matter how much you love your partner, you do not need to destroy yourself emotionally to sustain a relationship that does not have any future.

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The Paranoid Partner: 20 Behavioral Traits of A Paranoid Personality in Relationships
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